McLean County Public Schools has begun planning several for reopening schools for fall 2020. Superintendent Tommy Burrough also named a new interim principal for McLean County High School, current assistant principal Barry Nelson.

While there is not a set plan for reopening schools in 2021, the Kentucky Department of Education has asked districts to begin coming up with plans to reopen under several different scenarios, Burrough said in the McLean County Board of Education’s special called meeting on Tuesday.

According to Burrough, MCPS has created the Administration Task Force which is charged with making plans for the different reopening scenarios and going over the finite details of what each scenario might call for. Burrough said it has been difficult because it is unknown what the next school year will look like and there are many details that need to be considered.

Additionally, he said, the different plans created by KDE are considered a “living document” which means it could change without much notice, making planning even more difficult.

“The commissioner said to us, ‘I know it’s difficult to plan when you don’t know what to plan for’ and that’s what we’ve been doing,” Burrough said.

Burrough outlined several different reopening scenarios in Tuesday’s board meeting, including an early start date, a traditional start, a late star and intermittent closures.

An early start, which he said is not likely, would have schools opening in July. Burrough said he does not favor this plan as it cuts Summer break short for staff, students and their families after an already difficult end to the current school year.

A traditional start would be in August. The earliest MCPS plans to start as of right now, Burrough said, is Aug. 5.

A late start would have students coming in late August, September or October. Some details Burrough said the task force has to consider is how to keep students socially distanced, especially during lunch time and in the classroom and whether masks will be needed, among many other details.

The last scenario Burrough discussed was possible intermittent closures in which schools would open and close based on potential spikes in the virus.

“Next year is going to be interesting but … I’m blessed to have a staff and administration and the principals in the schools that … put the best thing out there for the kids,” he said.

Burrough also named the new MCHS interim principal to take over for the upcoming 2020-21 school year, Barry Nelson who has worked as assistant principal at the high school for two years, Burrough said. Nelson will take the position following the departure of current MCHS principal Tara Howard on June 30.

“We will keep moving forward and hopefully build on things that we’ve already begun to put in place. Mrs. Howard has done a great job prior to me and we want to continue that and hopefully get even better,” Nelson said.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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